Battle Engine Aquila
Infogrames November 2002--Developed by Lost Toys (former members of Bullfrog), Battle Engine puts gamers in command of various high-powered mechs and vehicles with which to do battle over land, sea and air. You'll need your wits about you as you defend your nation against invaders looking to expand into your territory. Considering their familiarity with strategy games on the PC, expect Lost Toys to add a few strategic elements to this pretty shooter.
Download Battle Engine Aquila
Battle Engine Aquila isn't anything new. We've seen it before with games like Jedi Starfighter and other flight sim console titles. The big difference with Aquila is the sheer amount of enemies that you'll end up fighting. Aquila itself is a giant walking tank, a mech if you prefer, capable of taking to the skies by transforming into an aircraft. Taking part in a massive storyline about war on a planet far, far away, Aquila puts you into the action and gives you enough firepower to get the job done.
Before I begin, I should mention one thing. The only place that Aquila can't go is in the water. It can walk, it can fly, but the moment it touches the water, you lose the mission, on account of Aquila's non-amphibious nature. Now, I can accept this as a standard of gameplay (to add a bit of artificial danger to the game), but given the fact that in the game setting, most of the world is covered in water, and you're fighting on small islands that aren't much more than a few miles across, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Small problems like that aside, Aquila is fun. It's got pretty bad voice acting, and the animated cutscenes leave much to be desired, but for the most part, the action gets you through the rough parts. Aquila has an intuitive interface that keeps you heading toward the enemy, blazing away. With four different craft configurations and a variety of weapons with which to fight the enemy, there's plenty to blaze away with. Some of the weapons are next to useless, and the radar makes it difficult to keep track of the enemies that you're fighting, but usually, you've got so many enemies to kill that you won't need to worry much, until the game forces you to replay the mission.
That brings me to the best point of the game. You've got oodles to destroy'hundreds of tanks, tons of walking weapon platforms, infantry units, boats, aircraft, and weird little things that look just like the grid bugs from Tron. Targets are plentiful, and your collection of guns can destroy them with ease. Depending on how you configure Aquila, you can fight like a tank, blasting away the opposition, or like a bomber, dropping hundreds of plasma bombs on the enemy. The amount of destruction you can cause is quite significant, and quite enjoyable.
All in all, while there are numerous small faults, the gameplay to Aquila stands up to my inspection, and I'd say, if you're interested in a little mass warfare and destruction, try playing Battle Engine Aquila. Watch out though, as a few of the missions can get quite difficult.
On a world made mostly of water, it's important to bring a boat. Somehow, instead, you've gotten stuck with a giant walking robot, loaded with weapons, incredibly deadly, and capable of transforming into a jet fighter, but strangely doesn't possess the ability to float. Aside from that, Aquila (your robot) is a tremendously powerful weapon. Fighting through a series of missions that play out like a multi-stage flying FPS, there are objectives that need accomplishing every time you play, many of which are very difficult, and in some cases hidden from you. In a somewhat different turn, Aquila tries to imply a less linear mission style, where your skill at play determines the flow of the storyline, but for the creativity of it, and a single branched mission, this feature goes unused throughout the entirety of the game.
Graphically, Aquila is impressive in but a single quality, and that is the sheer amount of enemies displayed on the screen at any given time. With multiple releases, we've seen Aquila look much better, such as on its release on the Xbox. Although it was obviously designed to work on all systems equally well, the graphics, when compared to the [Xbox version], seem to not only be of less quality, but strangely not optimized well. This version seems to suffer not only from performance issues, but additionally some aliasing issues as well. From an aural standpoint, I thought the sound effects were really fun, with the right amount of crunchy impact, but I was disappointed by some really pedestrian voice work that didn't bring any of the game characters to life.
If you play Aquila, expect pain. It gives a good challenge, and takes a good beating. The story is fairly uninteresting, supported by poor acting, but you've always got something to shoot at, and a little bit more interesting weapons than you'd find in other titles of this same type. All in all, while I wouldn't call this title really high quality, it rests on the strength of good gameplay and a proven console game style. Additionally, coop multiplayer is always fun. Definitely worth the purchase.